Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Honey Bee (you are my...)

I'm attending a talk this evening on the 'Secrets of bees and honey'. I'm sure it will be very interesting, but it occurred to me that one of the amazing things is how completely the honey bee has insinuated itself into our language, particularly the imagery of love used in poetry and popular song lyrics. I could immediately think of half a dozen examples from across genres, from the popular Victorian music hall number 'The Honeysuckle and the Bee' to Byrd's madrigal 'Sweet Honey-sucking Bees'. And this classic:

I suppose this is partly because of the intertwining of man and bee throughout history, but also because of their role in procreation of flowers, which in more prurient ages allowed for an overtly sexual metaphor to be deployed. The sweetness of honey also gives an added dimension to this, giving a rich lexicon of metaphor that has been in the arsenal of many a songwriter and poet. I've never used any bee-related imagery in my songwriting, but maybe after tonight I will be inspired!

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